tv Tavis Smiley WHUT January 28, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight the fourth and final conversation of "vision for a new america: a future without poverty." , mariana by chilton, cornel west, john d. graham and how ohio congresswoman marcia fudge. we are glad you joined us for part four of "vision for a new america: a future without poverty."
[applause] >> there is a saying dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life by doing the right thing. we know we are only halfway to eliminating hunter. we have a lot of work to do. as we work together we can stem hunger out. -- stamp hunker out. -- hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> where do began. no matter whether you know about education or not, let's turn to the banking world. investing in very young children is the best investment you can make. it has the greatest return on investment, and we know that because the first three years of life for the most important for cognitive, social, and emotional development. you are only two years old ones. that is the most significant window of time, and i think there must be an incident or a toddler in here, which brings me to the next point, yes we have class warfare, but it is unusual class warfare. those who are poor are completely left out. it is a bipartisan effort to
keep people who are pouring out of the national dialogue. that is why i started witness to hunter, which is working to be able to provide direction testimony on their experiences on raising children in poverty, and i will tell you there are so many conversations. the fact people have been silent for so many years, that is a mass of a trail. the first thing the women who are poor will tell you is that poverty is solvable. they expect nothing less. they are expecting their child to be the president of the united states, to be a lawyer, to be a doctor, and they want the best education. they want a safe, affordable home to live in, and the women we work with are investing so much in their children.
they are having to trade off for whether they are keeping the lights on or paying for food. that is unconscionable, and i think all of us can expect more. what we need to do is make sure low income women are included. the women i spoke with our genius. they are brilliant. they are fantastic entrepreneurs. they are wise, and they are stronger than any of us on the stage. it is a brain trust we are not utilizing. we need to make sure low income people are part of the national dialogue and being listened to in congress not just as special interest lobbyists. we need people taken seriously as national experts.
>> i sit on the agriculture committee, which is a committee with jurisdiction of food stamps. we just passed of foreign bill where my colleagues voted to cut food stamp spice $16.5 billion -- by $16.5 billion, and i voted against it because i thought it was outrageous. they voted against it because they did not think it was enough. we have people who work in the house of representatives who do not believe there is poverty in this country, so i want you to go to the other side of town to where you live. these people believe if you do not work you are lazy. they believe if your children do
not get a good education something is wrong with you. these are the craziest people i have seen in my life. if we continue to send people to congress who do not even understand what their job is, who do not understand the government's job is to take care of its people, we are never going anywhere in the country, because we deal with not so every single day. -- with nuts every single day. these people care nothing -- care about nothing but themselves. [applause] tavis: let me ask you something. i am like roseanne. i am feeling sorry for you. i am going to push too high in my prayers. on a serious note, we saw the
play out in the fiscal cliff negotiation, and we are going to see this in the debt ceiling. if you are right about this, there are people in trends in congress. they come from districts. they come from states where this is not their issue, so congress is polarized around the issue of poverty. we said there is a bipartisan consensus parliament does not matter. if you are right about your assessment, how do we imagine the plight of the four is going to get a dress? >> just what you have been giving these lawyers about. -- these blurbs about. people have to stop being silent. anytime i get a phone call in my
office i believe at least 50 of my constituents believe the exact same thing. if you start calling your congress people and senators and saying to them you want to address poverty, trust that they listen. do not just assume or be angry when you turn on the news that television cannot talk to a spirited you have to do it yourself, because if you do not -- television cannot talk to us. you have to do it yourself. people get news media about food stamps, and everyone forgets about it. until we get more voices, until more people realize how significant this is for us they are going to continue to talk shows on than had -- pat us on the head.
until they see babies who do not eat every day, until they realize the fastest growing children in schools is hungry and homeless children, until we can make them see it, they are not going to believe it. tavis: that is a perfect segue is emind people that thise #povertymustend. our website is afuturewithoutpoverty.com. we could do this every day. there would be no difference if the president names of major address on what we are going to do in his second term to eradicate poverty, and if you
gave us an assignment and told us what to do to help combat done -- get that done. the president ought to have a plan to cut poverty in half in the short run and to eradicate in the long run. if the president wants a legacy in which he can be proud, he has to make poverty of priority. >> it has to do with love and justice, and love and justice is always week. that is why the black tradition has been leavening the los, because we recognize first you have to have a suspicion of government. martin luther king was under surveillance.
the government can violate your rights. we need that sensibility. governments can use their power to support corporate elites. they come together not just politically but economically. let me say this. martin luther king, jr., could be taken to jail without due process or judicial process because he had a connection with a freedom fighter who was called a terrorist named nelson mandela. he just got off the terrorist list in 2008. he had a relation to a terrorist, and under the present administration you can assassinate americans. you can take them to jail with out due process.
we have got a black political prisoners right now in america, and they are in their becausee their love was such they are willing to tell the truth. that is a threat. we do not talk about them. that is what the culture of fear is not just silence. people are afraid. they are afraid to lose their jobs. you cannot have a culture of fear and generate a movement. justice will soon generate into something less than justice. we have to talk about love. martin was a titan of love. if you are not talking about love, all of this is simple. we are not going nowhere. now we have got to hit the streets. we have got to go to jail. you have got to be ready to die. that is what the movement is
about. if you are not ready to do that, keep your job and drink your tea. that is what we are talking about. people are dying out here. tavis: since you raised this notion of love, since the notion of love and our public policy has been absent, you talk about or try to put love -- we have heard in the last eight years we have heard about passionate conservatism. i want to ask you what happened to whom conservatism. love is a foreign concept. that is what martin did. he put love and the center of the public square. love means everybody is worthy. >> it is the rule of money. everything is up for sale.
you cannot have loved. you cannot have trust is everything is up for sale. they are going to talk one way. that is why both parties are so tied to the rule of money. it is big money. for black people who have been hated for 400 years, institutionalize hatred coming -- we and we'd be shout dish out john coltrane, that love in the face of hatred, that is the spiritual high ground, and the country had to take note of it. the whole world had to take note of it, and that is what is weak and feeble. it is not a question of skin pigmentation of the quality of your spirituality, and all of us
fall short. >> speaking of children, jonathan. >> there is no talk of love in education. the word is competition, and the president is guilty to the same extent his predecessor was. he takes no child left behind, which is the worst piece of education lot in my lifetime -- law in my lifetime, it is straight out of charles dickens, do not let them ask questions. if they did they might start asking why the politicians never keep their promises. no talk of love. the president takes no child left behind. he is going to soften it. what does he come up with? race to the top. there is going to be 12 winners.
38 losers. the worst enterprise -- i am a very patriotic american, and i like capitalism, but the word enterprise is sickening. it has had a pathological affect on our attitude to public- schools. these wall street guys who want to prioritize reprivatize our schools are setting option -- who want to privatize our schools are setting of the academy of leadership and enterprise. i always wonder why -- i do not think black people should let them name these schools for
people they love. i think they should name them for people they do not like like clarence thomas academy. self hate. >> here are a few points. i am going to be unfashionable. everybody in washington seems to think the way to solve the problems in our schools is to not give them another cent. do not give another penny to make the schools look like now places men respect the value of children. do not do that, but beat up on the teachers. that is the trend. i heard about the chicago teachers union. i flew to chicago the day they went on strike, and they were
right to go on strike. i am in schools all the time, and when i was a young teacher, the teachers are overwhelmingly women. if you go to a convention, if you are a guide it is wonderful. -- a guy it is wonderful. when they scapegoats teachers' unions, they are ruthless. they are attacking some of the largest unions in this country of the vote did, -- of devoted good female human beings. it is an attack on women. i remember dr. king's words
about i have been to the mountain. some of that is look back on all the time. it is as the symbol of hope. it is a biblical. we would like to get there again. the dialogue just like the dialogue in health care, there is nothing transcendental in it. there is nothing courageous in it. it is like they are tinkering around inequity. six the schools they say, which is a suggestion of word, region -- fix the schools they say. our kids are commercial commodities.
i hate that word. it is not working. fix it. i think that is emblematic of low level of dialogue. my favorite american poet happens to be langston hughes, and that is because i was fired from my first teaching job from reading his poetry to my fourth graders. it was too dangerous. i was fired for curriculum deviation. i was hired shortly after for curriculum development by the johnson administration, but my favorite: world wide happens to be the irish poet william butler yeats, and they are lines many of us learn in school and then forget. he say the worst are full of
passionate intensity. we need that passionate intensity on our side, on the side of the children, and i beg the president to summon the courage and audacity to give us the prophetic voice. if he does not, it will be a terrible betrayal of his growth. he will miss the opportunity to leave behind a legacy. tavis: we are clearly headed to a real debate about austerity. i do not believe austerity is the answer. some do. there will be a debate in coming weeks, but talk to me about this notion of compassion. there was this movement eight,
12 years ago to present that as an alternative, compassionate alternative. what happened? >> i think jack kemp was trying to genuinely develop a real understanding of how do breakthrough in housing and jobs. if the football quarterback had showered -- had a deep commitment to every human being he had ever met. his heart was big, and he did love everybody to the. sometimes of driving you crazy. he was a genuinely compassionate conservate. they use a political slogan to show they are softer than
gingrich republicans, but they did not think through a serious program. i want to commend you. i have had two or three ideas that would never have occurred without this kind of conversation, i did not say right or left. i just said radical. figure out what saving the children leave you too, which involves more prenatal care. you somehow skip the bureaucracy and all the other things. i want to say to the head of the congressional black caucus, i want to step way out there. i was impressed with the intensity of your comments about some of your colleagues.
i think part of the challenge we have in america is a real dialogue now takes more than 90 minutes. here is my proposal, which i will carry to the republican side if the congressional black caucus wants to do this. i believe congressional black caucus members should offer to match up with the republican member so they are each going together to spend three days in the district, and you spend three days in the republican district, and those six days and will lead to a conversation that will help lead us to help the by partisanship and help each side have a slightly different understanding and maybe start to create some friendships for which we can rebuild the ability to govern this country.
>> if you can make it work, i am in. if you can get society to do it, i am in. >> check it out. tell me how many of your folks are willing to visit. i will find that number of republicans and make sure it happens. time: let's hear one last for the panel. my friends at washington university, and for all of you for tuning in, until next time, the night from washington. thanks for watching, and as always, keep the faith. [applause] >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time in los angeles as we continue to celebrate our 10th anniversary on pbs. that is next time. we will see you then.
join me next time for a >> there is a saying that dr. king had that said there is always the right time to do the right thing. i try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only halfway to completely eliminating hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you. thank you.